Until you act on your bias by making a direct statement or by taking an action that targets and belittles a person or group of people based on their race, I’m not going to call you a racist. I’m not going to pass that sort of judgement on someone just on what I think their mental associations are.
Like voting for Republicans?
You might find that an incendiary statement. It’s meant as one. But here’s the logic:
Whatever reasons you vote for a Republican, Republicans support one another. That’s how political parties work.
Elected Republicans, as a whole, support the instruments of state, such as the police and the prison system.
Police are humans like the rest of us, steeped in the same cultural milieu that we are. On a whole, when you say criminal, I would argue that police think “black man.”
This means that, when police stop black folks for crimes, they unconsciously assume that a black person is guilty and/or dangerous. You may say, “you’re mind reading again,” but I’m not talking about mind reading, I’m talking about measurable, aggregate effects: black men are stopped by police in disproportionately high numbers in our country. So, either your believe that black men are inherently more criminal–which is a racist statement–or our police are consciously or unconsciously racist. I don’t really see another way to cut that statistical fact.
Then, again, black men are murdered by police in disproportionate numbers. And then again, police who murder people of color aren’t generally brought to trial, and if they are brought to trial, they are very rarely convicted.
Now, along that route, none of the jurors might think of themselves as racist. The judge and the prosecutor might not think of themselves as racist. Hell, the cop who killed the black man–as in the case of Philando Castile, where he was murdered by Jeronimo Yanez–might not think of themselves as racist. But the aggregate effect is that Castile is dead and Yanez is a free man. By your metric, this is not racism, and I couldn’t disagree more.
When you’re voting for Republicans–and law and order Democrats, like Andrew fucking Cuomo–you’re voting for police to be allowed to murder people of color. Because at no step along the way are those elected officials going to work to upend the system that is reproducing this systemic racism.
You make the argument that we are all subconsciously making mental associations due to the culture and linguistics we are surrounded in. I agree that our minds tend to make associations all the time, especially as mental shortcuts. My thinking is that those who are passionate anti-racists make these racial associations far more often then a non-passionate anti-racist does. If only because they are looking out for it more.
Clearly, we disagree.
If you don’t confront your biases, and actively work to compensate for them, then you’re allowing yourself to be blinded by your own privilege.